Over 10,000 inbound travellers from overseas have shunned the compulsory COVID-19 testing and isolation after arriving in Nigeria, Sunday PUNCH can report.
This came as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control data showed that the number of confirmed cases had risen to 170,623 and 2,131 deaths as of Saturday, July 24, 2021.
Analysis showed that over 10,000 travellers failed to show up for testing or to isolate after arriving in the country through the two main air gateways, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The Federal Government, through the NCDC, has insisted that the states should be in charge of contact tracing.
While over 9,000 inbound Lagos travellers shunned testing, no fewer than 1,000 inbound Abuja passengers shunned testing, bringing the figure to over 10,000.
According to the Federal Government’s COVID-19 protocol, passengers arriving the country are mandated to proceed on seven days self isolation, after which they are to report at a designated laboratory to undergo a COVID-19 test.
All inbound passengers are made to pay for the COVID-19 test in their country of origin or at the Nigerian airports on arrival.
Government reports have, however, shown that thousands of passengers are shunning testing after paying for such.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had said two weeks ago that 18 per cent of passengers who arrived in Lagos through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport could not be traced for COVID-19 isolation and testing.
He said that between May 8, 2021, and July 7, 2021, a space of two months, a total of 50,322 passengers of interest arrived in Lagos via the airport.
This implies that at least 9,057 inbound travellers absconded within three months.
“Of the 50,322 passengers, 18 per cent could not be reached by EKOTELEMED because of the provision of either wrong numbers or wrong Nigerian contact details to be reached on,” Sanwo-Olu said.
“Going forward, passengers that do not provide the right details, including a phone number they can be reached for monitoring and an address for isolation will face serious sanctions, including fines and imprisonment according to our Lagos State Coronavirus Law of 2021,” he added.